Sunday, August 9, 2015

‘The spiritual and mystical in Jungian analysis’

The C.G. Jung Foundation and the C.G. Jung Institute in New York City announced their advanced seminars for the fall and next spring. From the publicity:

Fall 2015 Seminar
Mind, Body, and Spirit in Jungian Theory
and Contemporary Analysis

Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
September 2 to December 16
(excluding September 23 and November 25)

This course will explore the role of the image, and the development of a symbolic attitude, in Jungian analytic theory and therapy. Jung primarily investigated the image from a Spirit perspective, amplifying their inherited, historical roots, and demonstrating the universal, objective meanings they provide to our one sided awareness. In this course, we will attend to the other, less investigated aspect of the image: its energetic charge and inherent potential to liberate and redirect the individual’s complex psychic energies, moving us towards feelings, behaviors, and values that correspond to the meanings of the Spirit aspect of the archetypal image.

Jung noted that a symbolic attitude is necessary to effectively contain, understand, and express both the new, unfolding meanings and corresponding energetic patterns of behaviors embedded in the archetypal image. We will learn about the basic structure of an effective symbolic attitude though the study of its Mind, Body and Spirit characteristics. By revisiting Jung’s writings on the Transcendent Function, Ego-Self axis, and the lost and feared “numinous” quality of the image from this perspective, participants will learn how the psyche/somatic split that is characteristic of modern men and women can be addressed by exploring how our fluid and unique mind/body states resonate with the objective meanings of the archetypal image.

The concept of symbolic body work, and its relationship to a symbolic attitude will be introduced, and persons interested in the body’s role in analytic psychotherapy are encouraged to attend.

Spring 2016 Seminar
The Mystical Experience in Jungian Psychoanalysis

Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
February 3 to May 11
(excluding March 23)
Instructor: Leslie Stein, LLM

All mystical experience confounds rational understanding. When it occurs, it is overwhelming, inexplicable, and daunting. These experiences take many forms: a vision, a flash of clarity as to the existence of a divine force, a powerful dream of archetypal figures, a feeling of unity of all things, a beneficent experience of peace. Jung calls these “numinous” experiences, preferring not to use the word mystical. For most, these numinous experiences are mere oddities, perhaps frightening, outside the reach of conventional religion and, as they are fleeting, we return to the comfort of our ego structure, no longer interested. Yet, they have a profound role in psychoanalysis. Jung writes “The approach to the numinous is the real therapy and inasmuch as you attain to the numinous experiences you are released from the curse of pathology.”

Some commentators have said that he could not have meant that numinous experiences are a substitute for the hard work of psychoanalysis. Yet, the vision of some other force, outside the ego, that can fill our hearts with peace and hope, may indeed be the goal of analysis.

The purpose of this Advanced Seminar is to explore the role of mystical experiences in our lives and in psychoanalysis. There is no single expert on all matters mystical, so the Seminar is to be a collaboration, where participants put away easy answers and open to the mystery of what lies outside what we know.

The course will draw on readings from Jung, William James, Sri Aurobindo, Erich Neumann, Donald Kalsched, and others who have recognized the importance of mystical experience. The objectives of the course are to gain some understanding of the nature of mystical experiences, to explore their function in the individuation process, to examine why some are open and some are not, and to seek to establish some place for these experiences in analysis.


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